Television host and actor Ali Saleem, better known by his alter ego Begum Nawazish Ali, was released on Rs10,000 bail on Wednesday, after he was arrested from a guesthouse in the upmarket Clifton neighbourhood over possession of liquor.
Saleem and Ateequr Rehman, the guesthouse manager, were produced before the South judicial magistrate. After hearing the arguments of the defence and state attorneys, the judge granted bail to each of the two men against a surety bond of Rs10,000.
District South SSP Omar Shahid Hamid said that following up a possible lead, Clifton SHO Javed Abro led a raid on the guesthouse located near Tauheed Commercial in the wee hours.
SSP Hamid said that while the police were searching the premises, they came across Saleem, who appeared to be drunk. “He grew agitated and started assaulting the police and swearing at them and creating a ruckus.”
He said the police took a boy and four men into custody, adding that because of the hue and cry raised by Saleem and his interference in the raid, the officials also arrested the actor and the manager of the guesthouse. “Bottles of liquor were found in [Saleem’s] room, and [Rehman] was booked under the Temporary Residents Act. The actor was taken for a medical and he tested positive for alcohol.”
Saleem censured the police raid and termed the action a conspiracy against him. “I have been an artiste since the past 20 years and I have contributed to Pakistan’s culture, representing my country across the world,” he told The News.
He asked why the police deemed it fit to hold him for 14 hours, and termed his long detention the worst experience of his life that he has had to endure.
The actor explained that he went to bed around midnight, as he had to rise at 8am for a film shoot with Meera, but minutes after he retired, plain-clothes police officials barged into his room.
“They started harassing me and beating me up, even though I only asked them how they dared enter my home. Then I started to flee because I thought they were trying to kidnap me.”
Saleem said the police officials should have come in uniform with an arrest warrant if they had any complaint against him. He denied that he possessed liquor bottles or that they were found in his room. He warned that he would file a police complaint against the raiding officials.
Condemning the police raid, Meera said she was also staying at the same guesthouse, but in another room. She said the guesthouse was used for shooting purposes and artistes usually stayed there.
“I came out of my room after Ali Saleem started knocking on my door and shouting for help,” she said, adding that Saleem managed to leave the guesthouse screaming, as the other artistes, herself included, followed him out to help him.